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Buckingham Palace Opens Famous Balcony Room: What’s the Catch?

LONDON — Visitors to Buckingham Palace in London this summer will have the unique opportunity to step inside the East Wing, a part of the palace that includes the famous balcony used by the British royal family for their public appearances.

For the first time, the public can explore the Centre Room, where this iconic balcony is located. According to Nicola Turner Inman, curator of Decorative Arts at Royal Collection Trust, “This room was part of the East Wing addition made by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was Prince Albert who suggested the balcony.”

The balcony was first used in 1851 to bid farewell to troops departing for the Crimean War. Despite its long history, visitors will not be permitted to stand on the balcony.

However, guests can look out through the net curtain down The Mall and admire a newly restored 19th-century glass chandelier shaped like a lotus flower. Turner Inman remarked, “For the public to be able to see the chandelier, not just a glimpse from the mouth, but actually be in the room where it hangs is an exciting prospect.”

Ticket holders will also gain access to the Yellow Drawing Room, which displays 18th-century treasures like hand-painted Chinese wallpaper and a Kylin clock.

Guided tours of parts of the palace have been available since 1993, but access to this section is possible now due to a five-year renovation under the ongoing Buckingham Palace reservicing program.

Visitors can also see Chinese imperial silk wall hangings gifted to Queen Victoria and artwork by 18th-century British painter Thomas Gainsborough in the Principal Corridor.

In addition to the East Wing rooms often used for receptions and meetings, the $95.90 tickets provide access to the State Rooms.

The summer opening of the State Rooms and East Wing rooms is from July 11 to Sept. 29. Tickets for the newly opened wing have sold out, so anyone eager to see these areas will have to wait until next year.

Source: USA Today